1. Rodts, Mary Faut

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Recently, there has been increasing discussion about the need for early intervention to prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis. Most people now understand the importance of calcium, vitamin D, and exercise for the adult population. Understanding, however, the importance of building bones in youth is a newer topic for discussion.

FIGURE. Mary Faut Ro... - Click to enlarge in new windowFIGURE.

The adult patients with osteopenia and osteoporosis of today have varied medical histories. Lack of dietary calcium in adolescence, limited physical activity, hidden eating disorders, and other factors, such as alcohol and tobacco use, may be some of the unknowns for this population. We do know, however, that each of these may have contributed to the large numbers of adults with osteopenia and osteoporosis today.


Martin reveals in her study entitled, Female Adolescents' Knowledge of Bone Health and Osteoporosis, that adolescent females had some knowledge of the necessary steps to make bones stronger. Increasing that knowledge and changing behaviors is our next challenge.


Taking the knowledge that has been gained during the last two decades of looking at osteopenia and osteoporosis, as well as looking at when maximal bone density occurs, new movements have developed to increase the adolescents' knowledge regarding developing and maintaining bone health. OPTIONS (Osteoporosis Prevention Teaching In Our Nations Schools) is an educational program that was developed by NAON to further the knowledge of bone health in teenage children. Brown, in her article, Test of an Educational Intervention for Osteoporosis Prevention with U.S. Adolescents, discusses the findings of this study and identifies areas for future research.


There are other groups that also need to be educated about bone health. An intervention to teach young mothers and fathers about bone health is necessary so that bone-healthy habits can be taught early. In addition, this important educational program should be targeted at smaller children, too. Impressing small children with the need to make their bones strong must be done.


In this issue, something a bit different is being published-a personal story of one family that has dealt with an eating disorder that has affected a young woman's future orthopaedic health. This moving story only confirms why we all must be on the lookout for the female athlete triad with every interaction we have with adolescent girls. An eating disorder will affect those adolescents and young adults for a lifetime. Our orthopaedic assessment may identify other problems. If we do not think about it, we will not identify it!!


Building strong bones in our young children so that they will not endure what their parents' generations have must be a goal for all of us.